URLs du Jour

2008-07-28

  • The coveted Pun Salad Read the Whole Thing Award for the day goes to Andrew Ferguson at the Weekly Standard for his analysis of Obama's Berlin speech. It's impossible to excerpt fairly—that's why you should RtWT—but here's his brief description of Obama's "greeting-card simplicity and appeal":
    The effect is almost soporific: "America cannot turn inward," he says. Check. "Now is the time to build new bridges." All set to go. "We must defeat terror." True dat. "Every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday." Roger. "We must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East." Go ahead: Argue.
    Key question: does Obama really believe in his own frothy Hallmarkian rhetoric? Ferguson will have you hoping the answer is "no".

  • On a related note, journalist Steve Chapman is beginning to entertain his own doubts:
    I came into the office the other day, wearing an "Obama 2008" cap, a "Yes We Can" button, a "Team Obama" T-shirt, carrying an "Obama for Change" tote bag filled with Obama bumper stickers, made a stop at the Obama altar in the newsroom, strewed some rose petals, chanted a few hosannas, lit a votive candle and had a sudden thought: Is the news media's love affair with Barack Obama getting out of hand?

  • And still on a related subject, Byron York's NRO article may set a record for that site in uses of the word "boner" in a single web page, and not in the "mistake" sense. Is K-Lo asleep at the switch?

  • Alex Tabarrok looks at the coverage of a recent study that examined the relative performance of males and females on math tests. He excerpts reports from the LA Times, Scientific American, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. His key observation:
    All of these reports and many more like them are false.
    Woops. Wouldn't it be nice if Scientific American changed its name to Just Another Liberal Rag You Can't Trust?

  • Adam Thierer writes, with a tinge of bitterness, about the FCC's imminent action against Comcast for its throttling of "the ability of customers to share large files online."
    And now that they have that foot in the door, I fully expect that it will be exploited for everything it’s worth to grow the scope of the FCC’s coercive bureaucratic authority over all things digital. The Left is salivating at the prospect of imposing their top-down vision of forced egalitarianism on the the Net, while the Right is figuring out how quickly they can exploit this to impose speech controls on anything they don’t want the public to see or hear.
    The usual "unintended consequences" of regulation are coming soon to an ISP near you: increased cost, poorer service, favorable treatment to politically well-connected rent-seekers at taxpayer expense.

  • Well, all that's quite depressing for a Monday. For a lift, try Cracked's "7 Movies Based on a True Story (That Are Complete Bullshit)", which isn't recent but nontheless funny. Key quote:
    The whole thing has really made us question Bob Dylan's research skills.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

[Amazon Link] [3.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

More family fare. Like Spiderwick Chronicles, this is another demonstration of how pursuit of shared goals and stressful adventure can bring feuding family members together. While Spiderwick Chronicles was fantasy, filled with ogres, fairies, and trolls, National Treasure plays as a cross between Indiana Jones and Da Vinci Code. Spiderwick Chronicles was slightly more credible.

Ben Gates, played by Nicolas Cage, is flush off the well publicized success of his adventures in the previous movie; unfortunately, he's split up from his girlfriend in the previous movie. Also, his ancestor is being smeared as the grand conspirator in Lincoln's assassination by a mysterious figure with a spotty Southern accent, brandishing a page from John Wilkes Booth's diary [Ed Harris]. This puts Gates' old crew back on the hunt again, hoping to clear the family name and coincidentally to track down Cibola, the fabled lost city of gold. We rush through Paris, London, the White House, Mount Vernon, the Library of Congress, and Mount Rushmore on the way.

This is a sequel to a popular flick, and is very much a coldly prefabricated effort to cash in one more time on peoples' fond memories of that movie. Nothing is remotely credible. But the actors are all pretty good. Helen Mirren, the Queen herself, shows up as Mom; this is kind of a hoot, and she's great. I liked Justin Bartha as the sidekick previously, and he's funny here too. So, bottom line, this isn't a bad diversion for a rainy afternoon.


Last Modified 2012-10-11 4:00 PM EST